The Accidental Product Manager Reading List

by drjim on March 23, 2009

Product Mangers Need To Always Be Learning More

Product Mangers Need To Always Be Learning More

Congratulations – you are a Product Manager. Now how do you stay on top of your profession? We all know that the world keeps changing and the skills and talents that it takes to be a product manger keep changing with it. The challenge that we all face is how do you become a better product manager?

The classic tale of becoming better belongs to Michael Jordan. Hopefully everyone knows that Michael was a powerhouse in the game of basketball. What everyone might not know is how hard Michael worked off the court. In his autobiography,For the Love of the Game : My Story, Michael described how he got up early to run, did countless pushups, trained with weights and did more than everyone else in order to be as successful as he was.

As a product manager you need to do the same. However, no running is involved. Instead, you need to be constantly reading and studying in order to be taking in new ideas and understanding what works and doesn’t work in the world of Product Management. To help you with this task, I proudly present the first annual The Accidental Product Manager reading list. It’s not perfect, it’s not complete, but it’s a good start for every product manager:

    1. The Wall Street Journal: Read it cover to cover every day. This is what the rest of the business world is reading and so you need to read it just to keep up with them.

 

    1. The Harvard Business Review: it can be a tough read and it’s fairly expensive, but this is what your CEO is reading. It’s got BIG ideas and these can help you to understand how to fix things that are fundamentally wrong in your department.

 

    1. The Economist: This is just good reading. It turns out that your product is affected by events that are occurring in the rest of the world. This is where you’ll find out about them first. Oh, and it’s a British publication so they spell things funny.

 

    1. The Innovator’s Dilemma: This is the classic text that explains how new technology can come along and knock a solid, well established product off of it’s perch and make it vanish. It’s a must read for all product managers.

 

  1. Kotler on Marketing: How to Create, Win, and Dominate Markets: Philip Kotler pretty much walks on water when it comes to marketing. Everyone who is anyone comes to him to ask for advice. In this book he lays out his thoughts on how to market your products successfully in the modern world. Once again, a must read for product managers.

So what do you think that I’ve left off of my list? How many product management books do you read each month? How else do you stay current in your profession? Leave me a comment and let me know what you are thinking.

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Mike Boudreaux March 24, 2009 at 7:53 am

Tip for the down economy – I subscribe to items 1-3 using air miles.

Reply

Dr. Jim Anderson April 9, 2009 at 8:47 pm

Mike: fantastic! Now once you subscribe the real trick is finding the time to do all of your reading! If you find a way to solve that challenge, let me know how you do it!

Reply

Ross Reynolds April 1, 2011 at 11:20 am

Nice list! I came across this during some research and had a laugh because it’s pretty much my regular reading. The Economist is one of the best news magazines out there.

For product management, I also recommend Cooper’s “Winning at New Products”.

Also, Clayton Christensen’s original essay, “Disruptive Technology: Catching the Wave” is a great complement to the Innovator’s Dilemma.

Nice blog-

Ross

Reply

Dr. Jim Anderson April 7, 2011 at 9:35 am

Ross: Thanks for the book suggestions. Now I just have to find the time to read them!

Reply

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